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What Are the Different Keys for a Tesla?

By: Otaiba Ahsan

Tesla Key Card
Tesla Key Card

There are a lot of things you leave behind when you make the switch from a gas-powered car to a Tesla. While frequent gas station trips are most people’s favorite thing they’ve left behind, for me it’s been not having to physically carry keys anymore. What are the different keys for a Tesla? Continue reading to discover unique ways the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer allows drivers to easily enter and start their cars.

Key Card

When you pick up your Tesla, you’ll receive two key cards with it. These cards communicate with your Tesla using short-range radiofrequency (RFID) signals. No technology or Bluetooth connections are required to use your card. You can simply walk up to your Tesla, unlock it by tapping below the camera on your door, and then begin driving. If you have a Model 3 or Y, you’ll have to place your key card on the center console to initiate driving. However, for the Model S and X, you’ll have to put it on the wireless charging area. Key cards are convenient when someone who needs to drive your car doesn’t have a phone key.

TIP: The key cards don’t support automatic locking, so make sure to tap on the door when you’re leaving so that your car is secure. Always keep a copy of the card in your wallet in case you ever need it.

Phone Key

Tesla’s phone key is my personal favorite among all the different options. When you take delivery of your car, you’ll be advised to download the Tesla app. Once you’ve logged in, you can set up your personal phone as a phone key that communicates with your car using Bluetooth. Few things beat the convenience of being able to walk up to your car and open it without having to press any buttons on a physical key. Tesla’s phone key allows you to lock, unlock and remotely start your car from wherever you are. You can also set up auto-lock so that it automatically locks as you walk away from your car. To set up your phone key follow these steps:

1. Download the Tesla app from your Android or iOS device and make sure that Bluetooth is enabled for the app.

2. Sit inside your Tesla and log into your account in the app. Press the “Phone Key” icon, and then hit “Start” in the app and it’ll begin searching for your Tesla.

3. Once your Bluetooth engages with your Tesla, the app will ask you to hold your key card on either the center console or wireless charging area, depending on which model you have.

4. When done holding your key card, your app will display a “Success” message. Congratulations, you’ve now set up your Tesla phone key!

TIP: If you have multiple drivers for a single Tesla in your household, you can set more than one phone key as secondary accounts. To add one, open the Tesla app > click “Security and Drivers” > and hit “Add Driver.

Key Fob

The key fob helps mimic a traditional key experience and you can purchase one from Tesla’s site. They allow you to press buttons to open the front and rear trunks and unlock or lock your car. It also supports automatic locking and unlocking if available in your region.

TIP: Setting up walk-away door locking is quite simple. When sitting in your car, tap Controls > Locks > Walk-Away Door Lock and you can enable it for both the phone key and key fob.

The Bottom Line

What are the different keys for a Tesla? There are 3 different options for all Tesla owners. These include the key card, phone key and key fob. Key cards are good if you want to lend your car out to someone who doesn’t have the other to key options. If you’re looking for a more traditional car key experience and are willing to spend some extra money, then the fob is what you should go for. However, if you want a completely keyless experience, then the phone key is your best bet, and my personal favorite.

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